Content Curation: The Wave of Info Gathering Future

Jul 14, 2011

Our information universe is rapidly expanding as the Internet grows. At last count, there are at least 19.31 billion pages that make up the entire World Wide Web. The content that each new page produces each day is staggering - and these numbers will only continue to climb. 

"No problem," you think, as you set up your Google Alerts, RSS feeds, dashboards and newsletters. "I'll be able to catch all of this great content with the tools available today!" However, the problem is that this disjointed process of collecting information via different platforms, tools, and data feeds results in cluttered in-boxes and dashboards full of largely irrelevant information.

Even if you feel like you're on top of all your content, chances are that you've missed some vital information nuggets. Drinking in all the data from the proverbial fire hose is simply no longer an effective way to consume content.

We have all felt the pain of wasting huge amounts of time each day sifting through mountains of data to find relevant information. A recent report from Basex Research Group quantifies this wasted time by estimating that workers lose 28% of their time to information overload. That amounts to nearly $997 billion in annual lost productivity for companies. 

Not only do individuals feel the pain, the C-suite is also now recognizing information overload as a real enterprise drain that needs to be addressed. As a result, CIOs and CTOs are increasingly investigating new process and technology solutions that can mitigate the rising cost and productivity losses associated with data deluge.

Humans simply cannot scale with the content creation curve. It's not just about the volume of information. It's about finding the right, targeted information in a sea of "junk" data. A number of consumer-focused platforms, such as Storify, Netvibes and Thoora, have begun to emerge in the market. Such tools attempt to provide better tools for managing content overload.  

As the rise and successful IPO of LinkedIn demonstrated, there is a hunger for content solutions designed for the business user. Taking a cue from Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn's addition of content sharing status update capabilities marked the importance of human-curated content.  The addition of LinkedIn Today, which provides aggregated industry news based on what your connections and peers are reading and sharing, was a logical next step that paired human curation with machine algorithms that can identify content to develop, collect, and disseminate news. 

Although LinkedIn has taken the information industry in the right direction by combining a database of content with a large network of business professionals it is still, first and foremost, a job searching site. The market for business-focused, enterprise-ready content curation tools is still in its infancy. 

Businesses have just started to realize the importance and benefits of aggregating relevant intelligence. The next step will be to then offer collaboration capabilities on top of content, which enable users to effectively share, collaborate and act upon the discovered intelligence in real-time.

In the next 5-10 years, content will drive all business social networking and collaboration. Content curation, through both machine algorithms and human intervention, will become a major integrated part of the enterprise productivity and intelligence infrastructure. Those who try to continue to wade through the seas of content overload on their own will fall behind, while those who successfully leverage the right tools will benefit from a major competitive advantage. Secure collaboration solutions, layered on top of these enterprise-ready content curation tools, will be the next step forward in allowing business users to be more informed knowledge workers that can identify and grow business opportunities at a faster pace than ever before.